An illuminating portrait of a self-taught Turkish artist who, despite being blind from birth, has become an internationally known painter.
Adding a light wash of biographical detail to her account, Burk traces Esref Armagan’s long efforts to develop his skills, to earn recognition and a living, and to fend off skeptics claiming that he must be cheating, somehow. Though the prose is occasionally trite (“I will learn to use color so that people can relate to my art, Esref decided when he was fifteen”), the author’s particular focus on the artist’s development—his discoveries of shadows and of perspective, for instance—and specific techniques for preparing canvases with modeling clay or glued-down string offers real insight into how obstacles raised by physical disabilities can be overcome with motivation and ingenuity. Gadotti inserts small but representative reproductions of Armagan’s accomplished landscapes, still lifes, and sketches into staid views of the artist at work from childhood onward. The relatively lengthy text is set in a blocky, sans serif typeface that is occasionally difficult to read against the backgrounds, due to poor contrast or conflicting underlying details.
Despite bumps, informative as well as inspiring. (afterword) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)